Summary: “Does my dog have asthma?” Well, pet parent, they may! If you’re concerned about your pup and their breathing, in this blog we learn all about asthma in dogs. We’ll find out what dog asthma symptoms are, whether they need a dog asthma inhaler, if there are any home remedies, and what the dog asthma treatment is…
Dog Asthma: What Is It?
Asthma in dogs is the same as asthma in humans; it’s the inflammation of the small airways (bronchioles) in the lungs. It can usually be brought on by a seasonal allergy to triggers like pollen, cat litter, cigarette/vape smoke, mold, dust, pollution, and/or pesticides and fertilizers.
Asthma is more common in cats than it is dogs, but asthma is seen in dogs but typically smaller breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Maltese. It’s also more commonly seen in dogs that are middle-aged.
You can’t cure asthma in dogs, cats, or humans, but you can manage it with the right care and proper treatment.
What Are The Dog Asthma Symptoms?
The dog asthma symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing (wheezing, coughing)
- Keeping their mouth wide open
- Mucus build-up
- Noticeably excessive panting
- General weakness and lethargy
Can Dogs Have Asthma Attacks?
If your dog is having an asthma attack, they will obviously be panicked and may become frantic. If the attack is quite severe, their lips and gums may become a little blue and this means oxygen can’t get around the body. If this happens, they need emergency medical attention so call your vet. If they are having a severe attack, they may need to be hospitalized and administered oxygen.
During an attack, keep calm yourself so as not to alarm your dog and administer the prescribed medication as advised. Make sure the room they’re in is well ventilated (open windows and doors), is cool, and quiet. If you have to take your dog to the vet, keep the car well ventilated with the windows down too.
If you’re in any doubt about your dog’s welfare during an asthma attack, call your vet.
How To Treat Asthma In Dogs
If you notice any of these dog asthma symptoms, it’s important you get them looked over by a vet straight away. It’s unlikely your dog will have an asthma attack in the veterinarian’s appointment, so take a video of them having one so you can show your vet to help with diagnosis.
Your vet will most likely want to do some further investigations before officially diagnosing them and this may include blood tests, chest X-rays, and take a urine sample. This will help them rule out other conditions like kennel cough or heartworm.
If a diagnosis of dog asthma is confirmed, your pooch may be prescribed bronchodilator medications which can help widen their airways when required.
Dependent on your dog, a dog asthma inhaler (nebulizer) may be recommended by your vet. This is a contraption that’s placed over your dog’s nose and mouth and converts liquid medicine to a mist that can be inhaled quickly by the lungs. Your dog may be reluctant, and this may be scary for you too! But remember, ask questions if you don’t understand and only leave when you’re confident you know you can use the dog asthma inhaler correctly and your dog seems OK about it.
Are There Any Home Remedies For Dog Asthma?
There are no home remedies that can help stop dog asthma, but there are a few things you can do to help your asthmatic dog out:
- Keep them at a good weight – the more overweight a dog is, the harder it is for them to breathe
- Don’t smoke inside or spray things like perfumes, scented air fresheners, deodorants, and cleaning sprays near them
- Invest in fake flowers and plants rather than keeping fresh ones in the house
- Use a dust-free, unscented cat litter, if you have a cat as the dust and faux fragrance can sometimes trigger an asthma attack
- Bathe your dog once to twice a week, with an unscented, sensitive dog-specific shampoo to be sure pollen or other similar triggers aren’t locked into their fur. Wipe your dog with pet wipes after walks in between bathing days.
- Vacuum and wash your linens regularly to be sure you’re removing triggers, like pollen, from your carpets, rugs, bedding, cushion covers, etc.
- Avoid using a fireplace or wood-burning stove around your dog. Smoke can be a major trigger of asthma. Keep them away from the BBQ grill too.
- Invest in an air purifier for the rooms they spend the most time in.
- Insure your dog as soon as you get them, so in case long-term conditions like this arise in their lifetime, the financial strain of asthma doesn’t need to be a worry.
Do Dogs Cause Asthma Attacks?
Dogs can’t directly cause asthma, but an asthma attack could indicate an allergy to a dog.
Lots of animals can trigger asthma in humans if they’re allergic to them, including dogs. An attack might come on within minutes of being present with the dog or hours later. Unfortunately, simply moving the pet to another room may not do the trick as the allergens (like their saliva or dead skin cells) can stay in the carpet and furniture.
If you and your household are not allergic to dogs, but you or someone you live with has asthma it’s usually OK to have a dog. It’s the allergy that will trigger an asthma attack. If you suspect your asthma is being worsened by your pet, consult with your doctor who can review your asthma medication and offer appropriate guidance.
Author Hauser, Wendy “Does My Dog Have Asthma?” ASPCA Pet Health Insurance https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/dog-asthma/
“Animals, Pets And Asthma” Asthma UK, Mar. 2020 https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/animals-and-pets/#:~:text=Touching%20or%20inhaling%20these%20allergens,mice%20and%20gerbils,%20and%20birds.